Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned on Tuesday that regardless of who is elected president in the U.S. in November, they “will have no choice but to surrender” to Iran.
While speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Rouhani criticized the U.S., claiming it violated the Iran nuclear deal and unjustly raised sanctions against Iran. “We are not the bargaining chip in U.S. elections and domestic policy,” Rouhani said, adding that “any U.S. administration after the upcoming elections will have no choice but to surrender to the resilience of the Iranian nation.”
In his speech, Rouhani compared the new U.S. sanctions to the death of George Floyd in May. He said footage of Minneapolis police officers kneeling on Floyd’s neck “is reminiscent of our own experience.”
Rouhani said, “We instantly recognize the feet kneeling on the neck as the feet of arrogance on the neck of independent nations. For decades, the valiant Iranian nation has paid a similar high price for its quest for freedom and liberation from domination and despotism.”
Rouhani also touted Iran’s contributions to the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, and said the slain Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was “the champion of the fight against the violent extremism in the Middle East.”
While crediting Soleimani with leading the in the fight against ISIS, Rouhani repeatedly criticized the U.S. for carrying out the January strike that killed the Iranian general. While discussing ISIS, Rouhani also said the U.S. “themselves created this terror network.”
Rouhani’s accusations against the U.S. of terrorism come after the U.S. has labeled Iran the number one state sponsor of terrorism on multiple occasions. Reacting to Soleimani’s killing in January, retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus also said Soleimani was “responsible for providing explosives, projectiles, and arms and other munitions that killed well over 600 American soldiers and many more of our coalition and Iraqi partners just in Iraq, as well as in many other countries such as Syria.”
Speaking at the U.N., Rouhani said Iran “does not deserve sanctions.”
The U.S. announced its intentions to reimpose sanctions on Iran in August after the U.N. rejected a measure to extend an arms embargo against Iran, set to expire in October. Over the weekend, following a 30-day notice period following the U.S. announcement of plans to reimpose sanctions in August, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the sanctions against Iran would return.
Over the weekend, the U.K., France and Germany issued a joint statement denouncing the U.S. sanctions plans. They claimed the U.S. forefeited its right to trigger a sanctions snapback because of President Donald Trump’s May 2018 decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Despite this opposition to the sanctions, Pompeo argued that despite the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran deal, the U.S. remains a signatory in a U.N. resolution that enshrines the Iran deal and thus maintains the right to trigger the sanctions snapback. On Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against several Iranian officials and entities associated with Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.